August 1, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Food Studies | Shonk Develops Baker Center Edible Garden Project

Benjamin Shonk at Baker Center Edible Garden, shown walking on a ledge

Benjamin Shonk at Baker Center Edible Garden

Food Studies theme student Benjamin Shonk ’18 spent a large part of his summer working on a wonderful new project on the Ohio University campus: the Baker Center Edible Garden.

The project was created through a partnership between Dr. Art Trese, Associate Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology; Susan Calhoun, landscape coordinator and West and Ridges supervisor; and Shonk, a 2018 OHIO graduate with a Bachelors of Specialized Studies in Sustainable Horticulture.

The team saw the flower beds at the bottom of Baker Center as a space that had much more potential beyond their current state.

After months of hard work and preparation, the Baker Center Edible Gardens are now a viable space for producing wonderful, fresh, and organic produce.

Green peppers growing at the Baker Center Edible Garden

Green peppers growing at the Baker Center Edible Garden

The food being grown in the Edible Garden project is sold at the OHIO Student Farm’s bi-weekly vegetable sales, which are held:

  • Tuesdays from noon-2 p.m. in front of the Atrium Cafe in Grover Hall
  • Fridays from 4-6 p.m. at the OHIO Student Farm
Harvest at the Baker Center Edible Garden--yellow and green squash, zucchini and more

Harvesting vegetables at the Baker Center Edible Garden

The money generated from these sales goes directly to a fund that supports summer internships at the farm, providing students a viable way to gain hands-on experience with sustainable food production.

This is a pilot project through a sustainability course, with the hopes of becoming a permanent way to get the academic community involved with food production right at the heart of the OHIO campus. The hope is to grow this one garden project into a transformative way to produce food and provide sustainability education across the campus.

Sustainable outcomes of the Edible Garden include: low cost fruits and vegetables, vastly reducing the amount of food miles traveled, increasing campus biodiversity, and providing a learning experience to anyone and everyone interested in learning more.

Food studies graphic, with outlines of eggplant, tomato, corn, etc.

The main goals of the project are:

  • Provide a pleasing, visual experience for passing students by increasing human and plant interaction.
  • Better utilize Ohio University’s green space.
  • Support awareness for local farming and ecology.
  • Create a unique learning experience and environment.
  • Provide the students, staff, and community with healthy, locally grown food.

NOTE: If you are a student, faculty, or community member interested in helping out, the team is always looking for extra hands in the soil! Please contact Shonk at or Trese at

Directions to the OHIO Student Farm

For GPS, enter “Plant Biology Learning Gardens.” Drive down West State Street. Pass Miller’s Chicken and a couple paved roads on the right (to the Innovation Center). Right after that, turn right on a gravel drive and go down until the farm is on the right. Park across the drive in the field on the left.

Benjamin Shonk holding two yellow squash.

Benjamin Shonk ’18



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